Memories are rose petals by Beth Oast Williams

Memories are rose petals

how they drop like the outline
of angel wings, words mis-spelled
trying to be something
they are not. I close my eyes
and the ping, prod, knock
on the door of my mind
says Wake up. How it’s impossible
to sleep when someone wants
to reach you. What pricks
the skin is thorn, but the way it rubs
the edge of imagination
is often velvet.
Here my mother’s smoke
is nothing but a lung memory,
drowned out by piano.
How her fingers ran laps
around Rhapsody in Blue,
how I lingered to hear
if she stumbled. What it meant
to her, I never learned.
Sometimes I imagine her soul
in an Outer Banks breeze,
how that last month she bundled
up and sat on the sand.
Other times I embrace
the idea of hurricane,
how every way out of this life
is storm. I ask the weather
to hear me and all I get
are fallen leaves.
I realize I do not sleep
on a pea, but something deep
underneath keeps bothering.


Beth Oast Williams’s poetry has been accepted for publication in Leon Literary Review, SWWIM Everyday, Wisconsin Review, Glass Mountain, GASHER, Fjords Review, and Rattle’s Poets Respond, among others. Her poems have been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. Her first chapbook, Riding Horses in the Harbor, was published in 2020.

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